City Of Fairborn Revives Restaurant Space As Startup Incubator

Jun 16, 2017

Entrepreneurs looking to start food-based businesses in the Miami Valley will soon have the opportunity to create and test their recipes in Fairborn. City officials Wednesday announced a new initiative to support small business entrepreneurs with a shared kitchen and office space incubator. 

The new incubator, which could open as early as January, 2018, will take over the longtime home of Roush's Restaurant on Main Street. The Fairborn Development Corp. purchased the vacant property with more than $200,000 after the 54-year-old institution closed its doors in 2015. 

The kitchen incubator is designed to provide shared facilities to cooks, bakers and food trucks for a membership fee.

Fairborn city manager Rob Anderson says the incubator will be first in a series of upcoming projects planned under the city’s new economic development strategy prioritizing small business, innovation and entrepreneurship. 

“We have a brewery that is looking at repurposing an old fire station, we have an old theater that we are going to turn into a cinema grill, the kitchen incubator and different businesses that will fill in just from that synergy. Two years from now, we’ll be completely revitalized, I think, and people will wonder, why not Fairborn?”

The incubator project will run entirely on renewable energy, officials say, and include solar panels and a roof vegetable garden.  

The incubator initiative also includes a pop-up retail store, which will be available to small business owners looking to test market demand for their products.

Anderson says city officials hope to help new startup businesses get off the ground without the red tape and added expense of renting or owning real estate, while also bringing more foot traffic and economic development to downtown Fairborn, which has struggled to fill storefronts in recent years.  

The Main Street kitchen incubator will also include a separate co-working office space for non-food small business owners and freelancers. The building will open for office co-working every Wednesday beginning in July.